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Marijuana Toxicity in Pets

By March 19, 2018 Small Animal

Did you know that Marijuana poisoning cases have increased 448% over the last 6 years?

Marijuana’s two main components are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

THC – Is the psychoactive component of marijuana – which is the component that affects pets and makes them extremely sick.

CBD – Does not make you ‘high’, it is actually used at a higher concentration in medical     marijuana (the therapeutic component for pain management).

How Marijuana Poisons Pets

  • Ingestion of plant (any part of plant)
  • Ingestion of edibles (laced butter, brownies, cookies, etc.)
  • Inhalation of second hand smoke

Signs and Symptoms

  • Central nervous system depression – difficulty walking, tremors, seizures, etc.
  • Slow heart rate (sometimes increase heart rate)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Lethargy/ Sedation
  • Glazed expression and dilated pupils
  • Potentially coma
  • Signs usually can appear 30 minutes – 12 hours after exposure and can last 30 minutes to several days (depending on quantity ingested or THC levels)
  • High concentration = worse/prolonged effects

Edibles, Dried Plant, and Medical Marijuana

  • Edibles: #1 source of toxicity.
    • High concentration of THC
    • Top sources are cookies, butter/oil, brownies, chocolate bars, and gummy bears
  • Dried Plant: #2 source of toxicity.
    • Up to 30% THC
    • Vomiting is the most common reaction
  • Medical marijuana:
    • Some medical marijuana will have higher THC (50-90%)
    • Extremely high risk to pets due to the higher concentration

How to Prevent Marijuana poisoning

  • Keeping edibles up high in a cupboard that pets can’t get to
  • Put animals in separate room with good ventilation when smoking
  • Keeping the dried plant in a closed jar and safely out of reach from pets
  • Most important – Educate yourself, on the impacts marijuana can have on pets.

How do Veterinarians treat marijuana poisoning?

  • There is no antidote for marijuana, the only treatment is making the animal vomit and then addressing the symptoms

Medical Marijuana for Pets?

There are a few dispensaries in Ontario that sell dog biscuits and CBD oil. They do not have any THC in them; they are altered so the pet doesn’t get high but still benefits from the therapeutic aspect of the drug. They claim that these can help with anxiety, inflammation, cancer, bone pain, not eating, and end of life care. There has NOT been enough information and tests yet to prove this theory, so if you are thinking about trying these products on your pets always ask your Veterinarian about it first!


            If your pet has ingested any form of marijuana call your veterinarian immediately, this is not something that should wait! Large quantities ingested can be fatal to animals.

Never hesitate to call, our team at Mitchell Veterinary Services and Pauly Veterinary Clinic are here to help.


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